Zim athletes struggle in SA

Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
The trio of Wellington Varevi, Jacob Mugomeri and Tendai Zimuto, who participated in the Athletics South Africa Night Series on Tuesday hoping to attain qualification standards for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will have to wait a bit longer after failing to meet the times.

The three athletes took part in the 5 000m event in Cape Town but all posted times outside the qualification standard of 13 minutes 30 seconds.

Vareveri came seventh in 14:17:45 while Mugomeri settled for position eight in 14:26:68. Zimuto finished on position nine in 14:28:05. The series was a qualifying event for the Olympics and Africa Senior championships to be held later this year.

National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe director of coaching, development and talent identification Lisimati Phakamile said they still have a chance to qualify as there are other upcoming qualification events.

“They missed out because we have a guy with 14:17 then 14:26 and so on in the qualifier.

“When I talked to them they were saying generally the race was slow, the conditions and the altitude slightly affected them. But they remain very positive and hopeful on a different environment in the same event, their times will be much better than what they recorded in Cape Town.

“We hope that with two or three competitions before the major competitions the guys can make it. So we are saying these guys can keep working on their speed and correct where they think they went wrong. They are hopeful they can improve and qualify,” said Phaka- mile.

Phakamile said the national association will be sending athletes to Mauritius and South Africa before qualification closes at the end of July.

“We have the 5 000m in Mauritius, so we are sending the guys there. They also have combined events, so we are going to participate in combined events. Keegan Cooke will participate. Pardon Ndlovu will compete in the 400m.

“We have a lady who is already in Mauritius, Tsitsi Mahachi and will compete in 200m. She is at a High Performance Centre there,” said Phaka- mile.

So far Zimbabwe has four athletes that have attained qualification standards in marathon. The four are Wirimai Juwawo, Pardon Ndhlovu, Gilbert Mutandiro and Cuthbert Nya- sango.

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